A BLOODBATH is being predicted in Libya after the leader of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, launched a military offensive against the capital Tripoli aimed at smashing the ‘Government of National Accord’ (GNA) imposed on Libya by American imperialism and recognised by the UN as the ‘legitimate’ government of the country.
The head of the GNA, Fayez al-Sarraj, in a televised address on Saturday accused Haftar of ‘betraying’ him over the military offensive to capture Tripoli and install himself as supreme leader of Libya. Al-Sarraj pledged that his own forces would fight back in a new civil war over control of the country.
The bloodbath that is unfolding in Libya is the outcome of the war for regime change launched by US, British and French imperialism in 2011 to smash up Libya, the most advanced country in North Africa, a war that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands of Libyans.
Now the two forces of the GNA and LNA are on course for a bloody civil war that will claim the lives of even more. Both these two armies are backed by different imperialist powers. The GNA is officially backed by the US and UN while Haftar’s LNA enjoys the support of France, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
Haftar originally served in the Libyan army under Colonel Muammar Gadaffi and took part in the overthrow of King Idris in 1969, but he broke with Gadaffi and was implicated in plots to overthrow the regime aligning himself with a US-sponsored opposition group the National Front for the Salvation of Libya.
He spent nearly 20 years in the US at Langley, Virginia as a US ‘asset’, returning to Libya in 2011 after the US, British and French air forces had bombed the country to pieces.
It is estimated that in six months the imperialist powers launched 8,000 bombing raids dropping over 30,000 bombs on Libya killing over 60,000 people.
They destroyed a country that the United Nations Development Programme said in a report had the highest human development indicators (which measure levels of health, education and income) in all of Africa, with a life expectancy of 74.5; undernourishment of the population at under 5%; and adult literacy at over 88%.
Libyan workers under Gadaffi enjoyed the benefits of a nationalised oil industry with secure job tenure, government subsidies of around $800 a month for the average Libyan household, and petrol at a mere 60 cents a gallon.
This modern, sophisticated secular state was an anathema to imperialism which was desperate to smash it up and seize its oil wealth.
This attack was spearheaded by the then British PM Tony Blair who, fresh from his lying campaign about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, met with Gadaffi and encouraged him to disarm Libya with the promise of a peaceful rapport with the imperialist powers if only he would abandon obtaining effective weapons for defence.
Gadaffi naively believed Blair, and disarmed. Imperialism was then able to send in its Islamist allies from Iraq to destabilise Libya and open the door for a ‘humanitarian’ bombing campaign to destroy the country and brutally murder Gadaffi.
Former UK PM Cameron, along with then French president Sarkozy, descended on the city of Benghazi in 2011 to proclaim a glorious ‘revolution’ and crow: ‘Your city was an inspiration to the world, as you threw off a dictator and chose freedom.’
The Libyan people have experienced imperialism’s ‘freedom’ – the destruction of the modern secular state of Libya, reduced to a hell hole of competing warlords and now threatened with even more bloody civil war.
For the workers and masses of the world, Libya stands as a vital lesson that the only way to defeat imperialism is to build a Marxist leadership that can unite the working class and the masses in socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism and advance to a world socialist society.
This means building sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in every country capable of leading the world socialist revolution to victory, and put an end to imperialism and all the wars and murderous atrocities that it carries out in the name of profit.